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New John Deere Mower Was Papa’s Pride

By Charles Cooper

Hello everyone, hope you’re having a good week.  Once again, thanks to Jack for locating a picture to go along with last week’s column. I would like to add that this is not the original group I wrote about but a later one carrying on the tradition. My information is rather sketchy but it seems a bass singer named Roy Lanham was instrumental in this.  
In any event they never became a part of the Gospel quartet circuit that we all remember.  I’m still getting feedback about songs connected to the railroad.  
Someone said. How could you forget Train, Train., Train, by Elvis?   
This made me wonder why I failed to mention the Steve Goodman classic, “The City Of New Orleans” since my dad was an engineer on that train several years up to his retirement.  
Steve left us way too soon but his “You Never Even Called My Name”  was a big factor in launching the career of David Alan Coe   
This is why I ask every week for your input–critical or complimentary–as many times it helps a column as well as reminding me of something I had forgotten.      
I learned early that not everyone will view a particular subject in the same way.  As an example, someone wrote me once that I was glossing over unfavorable things about some of the subjects, going so far as to suggest that I might be related to the Wagner  family.      
Then lately I was asked if I had a vendetta against the Wagners in my writings about the cotton mill and the incident with the Methodist minister. I reiterate  that those things  I wrote about were a matter of public record plus statements from eye witnesses who were around at the time.  
I try to follow Mark Twain’s credo, “Always tell the truth, it will impress some of the people and astonish the rest.”  We could really use a Mark Twain or Will Rogers today.  
Mark Twain said that Congress was America’s only true Criminal class.  Will Rogers said that when he talked about Congress he was making a joke but when Congress made a joke it became law and when they passed a law it was a joke.   
Today  when we elect someone to Congress, rather than start doing the job they were elected to do, they start tying to raise money for their re-election.  They make sure they vote for their pay raises and exempt themselves from the worthless regulations they saddle on  the rest of us.  
Mr. W.A. Nolen, a fine old gentleman who ran a store on Main street for years, wrote in the Herald little pieces he called “do you remember?”  
One I remember was when he told how he borrowed $50 from Charlie Hague to run for an office, which he won. Charlie Hague worked in the railroad shops and he was one of several who made pay day loans at extremely high interest rates.  
Many who did this later became respectable business men. Everyone seemed to know who they were but their past was never mentioned.  The major bank didn’t cater to the shop employees and in the eighteen nineties  some of them approached J.V. Blackmur to start a bank where working men would be welcomed and the result  was the Mechanics Bank.  Mr. Earl Fly wrote in one of his columns about how a farmer wanted to expand out into the cattle business and their loan launched a business that has lasted until this day.  I found in going through Papa Badley’s papers a note co-signed by my  dad for him to buy a new mowing machine.  He went to Hendricks machine shop and bought a John Deere mower and Mother said he brought a team to town and proudly drove the new mower right up Main street.  I remember as a kid seeing him use that same green John Deere mower cutting hay.  This seems like a good place to close this week’s column so don’t forget to email me at or write me at P.O. Box 613189 Memphis, TN 38101 and have a great week.


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